Make your resolutions stick using 7 easy tips
Written by Professional Academy Management & Leadership Tutor, Kathryn Knights
It's the start of a new year and a popular time for making (and quickly breaking) resolutions. I've committed to having a more structured morning routine and not to overfill my diary with appointments and tasks. How many times have you made resolutions and failed to stick to them? Have you ever asked yourself why you lost the momentum? Whether setting personal or professional resolutions, here are my tips to make them stick:
1) Draw your year - imagery is a useful way to capture future thoughts and frame them so that they become real. Try drawing what your ideal year looks like and then sticking that picture somewhere prominent so that you are reminded of it every day. You might like to try this activity with a friend so that you can share your pictures and make a verbal commitment to your goals. This activity also works effectively in the workplace and is a fun and interactive way for people to set goals.
2) Get SMART - you probably know the acronym and what it stands for (smart, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-bound), but do you actually use it? The first step in setting a goal is knowing how to write one. If your goal is to get promoted this year then you need to be more specific with the details of what that promotion looks like: What is the role you have your sights set on? Do you have the skills set to move into that role? What support can your line manger give you?
3) Value your goals - if you've written down goals in the past and not stuck to them it's highly likely that you didn't value them. For example, if you set a goal to lose weight but you don't value leading a healthy life then those early morning gym sessions will never happen. When you set your goals you need to be honest with yourself. Try sense checking them with friends or family members to gauge how realistic they are.
4) Regular reviews - any goal you set should be reviewed regularly. I often see people write down goals in good faith, only for them to be put in a drawer and forgotten about. Set yourself weekly, monthly and quarterly reviews of your goals so that the process becomes part of how you live your life. On a daily basis start each morning by re-stating your goals and finish each evening by reflecting on what you've done to help you achieve them. A great way to capture these reviews is through writing a journal. Writing down your thoughts helps keep you committed and also gives you a written record of what you've achieved so far and what's left to be done.
5) Habits - goals and habits are two sides of the success coin. Good goals provide a sense of direction and effective habits provide the mental discipline to achieve those goals. One without the other often leads to frustration and failure. As I mentioned in my recent Time Management blog, if you want to increase your chances of making a new habit stick then commit to your new routine for three to four weeks. This is the suggested period of time you need to make any new habit become automatic. Secondly, make your new habit a daily one and one that takes place at the same time each day. Finally, keep it simple to start with. Don't overhaul your whole way of working, change just one aspect of your working day. Your small successes will motivate you to keep going and inspire you to introduce new ones in the coming months.
6) Get social - share your goals with others. Not only does this make you more accountable and motivated to succeed, but when you encounter problems or challenges you can use your network to talk through how you can overcome them. Remember: a problem shared is a problem halved.
7) Mindset - maintaining a positive mental attitude sounds easy, but in reality we all slip into negative mindsets now and again. You need to trust yourself that you can achieve your goals. If you only ask yourself negative questions when you are faced with a problem, you will only get negative answers. Turn the negative questions on their head and start asking positive ones instead. For example, if a supplier has let you down, rather than focusing on the problems this has caused, try viewing the situation as an opportunity to look for a new supplier who could offer you better products at more competitive prices.
Finally, when you write your resolutions make sure that you reflect on the things that you have achieved in previous years, along with the things that you are grateful for. This will help maintain a positive mindset and keep you engaged with your new challenges. Good luck and don't forget: 'Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.' Tony Robbins.
If you need further advice you can contact me via LinkedIn.
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